Florida Master Gardener is a title granted by the University of Florida - Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) to individuals who complete a Master Gardener training course and the required volunteer hours. The principle purpose of this program is to train volunteers who will educate the public on how to solve their landscape, water, plant nutrition, and pest problems. Subjects covered by the Master Gardener training course include, but are not limited to:
Environmental horticulture, botany, ecology, urban forestry, pollination biology, soil science, landscape ecology, natural resource management, urban forestry, arboretum or botanical garden management, particularly with reference to Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM and Integrated Pest Management.
Community, vegetable, ornamental, organic, and other types of gardening
Water conservation, best management practices for pesticide and fertilizer use, and the Green Industries (GI-BMP)
What does a Master Gardener do?
Master Gardeners volunteer their time and learned expertise to assisting the Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM Program by:
Providing research-based scientific information to resolve problems in the landscape including deficiencies, diseases, pests or other abnormalities. Educating the public through demonstrations, lectures, tours and displays virtually and in person at countywide events, for local and regional parks, nature centers and natural areas, homeowner associations, natural history societies and clubs, assisting nonprofit libraries, museums, nature centers and other organizations, and for community gardens. Master Gardeners also have the opportunity to give research-based educational programming to schools, nonprofit youth organizations, including 4-H and civic associations.
Residency, Service, and Computer Requirements
While Broward County residency is not required, Master Gardeners must serve all of their 75 pre-approved hours (40 while being mentored at a MG Public Service Centers) doing nonprofit volunteer work in Broward County.
Volunteering with Broward County is subject to satisfactory completion of a background check, including but not limited to: verification of education, previous employment, criminal records, and driving records history as recorded in the personnel or other records of any previous employer, law enforcement organization, state or federal agencies, or any school that you have attended. Further, a volunteer will be required to enter into a waiver, release and such indemnity agreement releasing Broward County from any liability whatsoever in connection with such background check verification, use of the results in the volunteer screening process, and from any liability to third persons caused by the direct or indirect actions of the volunteer. Since the ability to volunteer is a requirement for the course, those who do not qualify as a volunteer may not take the course.
Each student must have daily access to a computer, on test days they must have access to bring a laptop, tablet, iPad, or other. In keeping with our Four Star Sustainable Community, there are no handouts but rather, communication is by email and coursework is otherwise via DVD, where there are copies of all lectures and reference materials.
How are Master Gardeners Trained? Where and When Do Classes Take Place?
Master Gardeners are trained by a team of scientists, including faculty from the University of Florida-IFAS at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Florida Poison Control Center and Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, and Florida International University, led by Dr. John Pipoly, Urban Horticulture and Natural Resources Extension Agent. Students receive over 130 hours of lecture, demonstration, hands-on laboratory, and field training in a myriad of venues. Most sessions take place in the Fountain Room of Plantation Heritage Park, except for field trips and special classes in nature centers and other areas. Classes run every Thursday, from March 5th to June 18th, between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, with a one hour lunch break (15 weeks).
How Much Does It Cost?
Each Florida Master Gardener of Broward County pays $275 for inscription in the course, with an additional good faith volunteering deposit of $200. The later deposit is refundable if the trainee completes his/her 75 pre-approved volunteer hours, of which 40 are under the direct mentoring by staff or an approved Master Gardener Mentor, someone who is already certified. The 75 hours with 40 in being mentored must be completed one calendar year from the final examination.
How Can I Apply To Be a Master Gardener?
To apply for the next Master Gardener training class, please register for an interview. Please email your full name, email, telephone number, to Julio Perez, our Horticultural Technician. Please bring your Florida Drivers’ License as well as a copy of both sides when you come for the interview.
If you need additional information on the next Master Gardener class, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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